Claude Rains was perhaps one of the most recognizable character actors from the classic era of film. He was able to play almost any part. Among his best known roles were Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca and Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood. The Invisible Man was his first major film role. Prior to this film he had only appeared on screen in one silent film short. The rest of his early acting life had been spent on the hardwood stages. In The Invisible Man, Mr. Rains stars as Dr. Jack Griffin, who disappears one day while working in the lab of his friend and mentor Dr. Cranley His mysterious disappearance from the lab has Flora, Dr. Cranley’s daughter and Jack’s girlfriend, worried regarding his whereabouts. Unbeknownst to the two of them Jack Griffin has done more than simply walked away from the lab and them. He has literally disappeared, becoming completely invisible. Wrapped in bandages to hide his invisibility he sets up a lab in a local Inn to work on a way to bring himself back to normalcy. Sadly the formula which made him invisible is also affecting his mind and he is becoming more unbalanced and violent as time passes. Read more about The Invisible Man (1933)
If the stories I’ve heard are true there is a five-gallon bucket somewhere in the United States that contains a batch of red silicone still moist from the 1958 production of The Blob. Supposedly it is brought out and displayed at the annual Blobfest in Phoenixville PA where many of the scenes for the movie were shot. The Blob is one of many science fiction movies of the 1950’s that told of some unknown horror coming from outer space that endangers the world. A lot of these were extremely low budget and featured extremely bad special effects even taking into account the time they were produced. Read more about The Blob (1958)
The story of Frankenstein's monster has long been one of the staples of horror. The book Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelly, wife of poet Percy Shelly is one of the modern horror stories and is also considered one of the earliest science fiction stories. The 1931 movie Frankenstein is very loosely based on Mary Shelly’s book. One of the most striking differences being that of the appearance of the monster. In the book the monster begins as an almost handsome and well-spoken man and only turns ugly as his skin begins to rot away due to poor blood circulation. For most of us however Frankenstein’s monster is best remembered as the large, groaning brute with a flat head and bolt shaped electrodes sticking out of his neck. Frankenstein stars Boris Karloff as the monster and Colin Clive as inventor Henry Frankenstein. Read more about Frankenstein – 1931
The month of October is one of the most popular months for watching films of the horror genre. It also seems a suitable time to post a tribute to the August 30th passing of director Wes Craven who did much to influence the direction of the modern horror film. His 1984 Nightmare on Elm Street introduced Freddy Krueger, one of the longest lasting and memorable horror characters since Boris Karloff’s monster in the 1931 movie Frankenstein. In 1996 he introduced us to “Ghostface” in Scream, a second horror creation destined to become almost legend. Yet it would be wrong of us to limit Wes Craven’s talent to only the horror genre. He was also known for films such as Music of the Heart starring Meryl Streep as a music teacher struggling to teach violin to inner city children and as one of twenty directors of Paris, je t’aime a collection of stories about the city of love.
This month is a perfect time to explore the legacy of films that we have been left by this notable director. The link below will create a list of DVDs owed by the Library for your enjoyment.
If you are one of the few people who haven’t read this Rosie nominated book yet, do so as soon as possible! Filled with creepy black and white photos, this mesmerizing story centers on sixteen-year old-Jacob Portman and the events following the mysterious death of his grandfather. To help him overcome his grief, Jacob travels with his father to a remote island off the coast of Wales to find answers about his grandfather’s childhood. He discovers much more than he bargained for when he finds a “time loop” from 1940 where the children from his grandfather’s stories hide from the rest of the world. These children are not ordinary children; each has a unique special talent that makes them a target for a group of monsters intent of world domination. Soon enough, Jacob learns about his grandfather’s past and discovers that he has inherited his own special talent that has placed him and his new friends in grave danger.